OU football notes: Players relive Sooner magic

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Modified: December 3, 2010 at 8:26 am •  Published: December 2, 2010

Coach Bob Stoops sometimes shows the team film clips from previous years. This week, players watched highlights from the 1976 OU-Nebraska game.

“They said that was the start of Sooner Magic,” said wide receiver Ryan Broyles. “I feel we need some more of that Sooner magic.”

Broyles said it was entertaining to see old uniforms and TV graphics.

“It was a different type of game,” Broyles said. “It was a lot slower. The swagger wasn't like it is now. The camera (angle) wasn't that good. Their jerseys were huge. It just wasn't right.

“It's not a knock on those guys. They didn't know any better then just like when my kids will come here to play we're going to look ancient, too.”

HUSKERS RELY ON GROUND GAME

Stopping the run is a defense's top priority every week, especially when facing Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers rank eighth nationally in rushing offense. Nebraska has three of the conference's top 10 rushers — Roy Helu Jr. (1,120 yards), Taylor Martinez (974) and Rex Burkhead (822).

Hampered by ankle and toe injuries, Martinez reportedly won't be 100 percent. But the Cornhuskers will still rely on their running game even if Cody Green plays quarterback.

“They want to take time off the clock,” said OU linebacker Travis Lewis. “They want to get downhill on you. They have a great offensive line.”

SOONERS WARY OF PLAY-ACTION

The Cornhuskers are so ground oriented that they can lull safeties to sleep. Nebraska calls running plays 70 percent of the time. The Huskers passed for a league-low 1,862 yards, but nearly half of those yards were big plays off play-action passes.

“That's the challenge,” said defensive coordinator Brent Venables. “It's like that field corner. They haven't thrown it. They haven't thrown it. And all of a sudden they do throw it. They use their speed and try to get behind you. It takes discipline. You have to play every single play with a sense of desperation.”

Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez said: “The first thing, is you have to defend the run and they're very good at running the ball. But if you're very good at that, then the play-action pass is tough to defend. We need to try and get them in longer yardage (situations).”

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